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There are some states in this great nation of ours that don’t let you hunt with anything 5.56 caliber or smaller. For those who live in those states, if you want to use an AR-15 to hunt, you need to get it in a non-standard caliber. There have been a smattering of intermediate cartridges to come out over the last decade to try and appeal to the hunting crowd, from 6.5 Grendel to 6.8 SPC to 300 BLK, and now Sharp’s Rifle Company wants to add another entrant to the caliber wars: 25-45.

The idea is that they have taken a 5.56 cartridge and necked it up for a slightly larger projectile, but they’ve only gone from about 55 grain projectiles to 80 grains. Despite the weight increase, the velocity remains right around the 3,000 fps range. That means almost 50% more muzzle energy from the same rifle, and allows you to legally hunt in states that don’t like 5.56.

They may to run into the same old problem, though: not enough people to make the caliber really viable, and not enough supply to meed the demand of their shooters at a reasonable price. It’s going to be expensive for a while, but if the match checks out on the ballistics it might be an interesting option for hunters. Especially since you can load full magazines, much unlike the 6.8 SPC crowd. Stay tuned, and we will get a full review shortly.

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  1. I’m new to reloading and am wondering what will be the dimension of the casing and the projectile? I don’t think it would be to difficult for those who produce their own fmj projectiles to make the change with the dimensions and load out… ???

    • It’s a necked up 5.56 case. You can get barrels chambered in it from Black Hole Weaponry and others, and it appears that RCBS is making dies. Like with all things “wildcat” you’ll have to experiment to find the sweet spot on powder/bullet for your particular barrel/twist.

  2. This a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. There are other calibers and long action ARs. The Remington R25 comes in 243.

    • +1 sort of

      The problem DID exist, it’s just been solved already.

      Also, I want one anyway (for some strange reason)but would never dump the cash into it.

    • For Washington State, at least, a .243 caliber gun doesn’t solve the problem: .25 or larger. Of course 6.5mm Grendel, 6.8 SPC, and 300 BLK all solve the problem, at least after a fashion. All of them have their own problems, though. But, then, so does this.

  3. If we’re talking hunting, I’d rather have a 22-250. Granted, I can’t cram it into a USGI magazine, but for the ballistics I’m fine with running a bolt gun with a more proven, versatile cartridge. I encourage the effort in cartridge tweaking—and for some AR-heads this will probably prove out. For me though, this one’s a nonstarter.

    • 22-250 is still a .22 cal projectile, which is the only thing that matters to a law that requires a diameter greater than .22, thus the case for the .25-45 Sharps.

      • That’s the funny thing about the wording of those laws. Louisiana says any centerfire 22 or larger, so, by law, I could hunt deer with a .22 Hornet.

        • Same with North Dakota, they require .22 center fire or larger for deer so .22 hornet is legal. But for moos or elk .25 center fire is minimum.

  4. This “solution” has been available since 1965, though it never caught on. The 6x45mm (6mm/223) is a necked up 5.56mm case which only needs a barrel change and some dies for reloading. I switch AR-15 uppers between 5.56 in the summer and 6mm in hunting seasons.

    • Let’s be honest, it needs way more than that. There still isn’t a SAAMI specification for the 6x45mm. It’s not just simple reloading, it’s a wildcat and that requires more reloading knowledge than just simply following basic instructions.
      I’ve only ever seen Black Hills offer commercial ammunition, and that has been rare.
      Now, are the barrels easy to come by.
      Where did you get your barrel, as this is a caliber I really want to add to my collection. I already have 6.5 Grendel and 6.8 SPCII, 300 BLK, and even .458 SOCOM, but I want to test the 6x45mm.
      In my opinion, that should give the best combination of magazine availability and ballistic coefficient.

      • “It’s not just simple reloading, it’s a wildcat and that requires more reloading knowledge than just simply following basic instructions.”

        Wholeheartedly disagree.

        What you are saying only really applies to the person developing the wildcat. Once the basic load has been worked out, it is just a matter of following good loading practices and the “starting load(s)” that are published.

        Hand loaders load for wildcats all the time, and many a loading manual include wildcat load data.

        In fact, Hodgdon includes data for the 6×45. Also, I think that might be the cartridge a friend of mine did the “official” load work-up for, and if so, that data is also in the Lyman manual.

    • I agree, the 6×45 is a good cartridge. It’s popular enough around FL and GA that I can buy ammo from Arrow Arms off the shelf in Augusta. It’s even stamped 6mm so you can easily keep it separate from your 5.56

  5. I like it!

    What else I’d love to see manufacturers take on is the lower end of performance as well. Because not everyone wants to be needlessly blowing through powder out of a 16″ barrel to pop varmints at <=100yrds, perhaps a revitalizing of something like the 221 Fireball or standardization of 20 VarTarg.

  6. When I read the headline, and I see “Sharp’s” and “25-45” with a picture of an AR, I thought “Huh? Someone introduced a blackpowder cartridge for the AR? OK, I want to see this.”

    Sadly, no, it is marketing further muddying the field of American cartridge designations. The “xxx-GGG” designation has been used for black powder cartridge rifles for more than a century, and now someone in marketing thought they’d be “cool.” Sigh.

    I don’t see the need, really. The 6.8SPC or .300 AAC both solve this problem, if you want to be constrained to the power you can fit into an AR-15.

    • The 25-45 is the best all around intermediate cartridge, and it’s what the military should adopt. Here are the ways it beats the 6.5,6.8. The 300 black is a specialty round, not an all purpose round.

      1. No reduction in Mag capacity
      2. No bolt required
      3. Flatter shooting which means less room for range finding error.
      4. Lighter
      5. Lower recoiling
      6. Only about 1-200 ft lbs less than the others, which is not enough to outweigh the cons.

      It’s an awesome round, it would be like if someone invented a round with the .308s ballistics that was 40% smaller and lighter.
      It is the best option as a 556 replacement, hands down. Wolf just needs to make ammo for it now 🙂

    • Bushmaster 450 also. Straight walled case for easy reloading, fits in metal GI mags with the blue single round follower, matches 45/70, and you can use leverevolution .45 bullets.

  7. Or, if you want a production cartridge that hits harder (at the cost of magazine capacity), there are the WSSM series, 223, 6mm, 25, and 300.

  8. For a minute there, I thought 45 meant grains of BP you could stuff in it, or 50% more powder capacity than a 30-30 or more than twice as much as a 25-20. After that first impression, a 25-223 seems pretty boring.

  9. I had my eye on .277 wolverine. It’s a 6.8 bullet in a necked up 5.56 case. It seems to have good results. It is like 300blk in that it only requires a different barrel.

  10. Well at 3000 fps, but with a heavier bullet, where I would see this shining over either 5.56 or 300 blk is at long ranges

    The 25 cal offers a wide range of bullets available. Sharps started with an 87 gr and plans a 60 gr, but if reloading you can go up to 120 gr.

    They specifically marketed it when released (first half of 2014 I think) for medium range hunting

    The 87 gr at 3000 fps at muzzle, BC: 0.29 means 850 ft. lbs and 13 in drop at 300 yards

    The Hornady .223 advertised for white tail (the sort of hunting the 25-45 was invented for) is 3000 fps at muzzle, BC .171 60 gr: 332 ft lbs at 300 yards and 17.6 in drop

    5.56 ammo at 75 gr, 2910 fps at muzzle is BC: .214 and gives 512 ft lbs at 300 yards with 16.3″ drop

    300 blk 110 gr (supersonic), 2375 fps at muzzl. BC: .29, gives 623 ft lbs (which is enough for deer) BUT drops 23.4″

    Now of course the may be better bullet selections and loadings, especially for reloaders. But it seems to me that the 25-45 is a winner. Same muzzle velocity as the 5.56, while offering a heavier bullet and thereby a higher ballistic coefficient, thus being better at longer range. Much faster than the 300, and for supersonic the same BC, thus having a much flatter trajectory. The slight increase does not prevent you from loading 30 rds in the mag.

    If you reload or if it takes off, it is certainly a great option. Buy a barrel and that is it. Now your AR is more capable for mid range hunting and for a bit heavier game, whereas the 300 and 5.56 are good only at short ranges for such game. And AFAIK other solutions require changing bolt carriers and/or other parts.

  11. 1st, I bought an R25 in 308win. Gun shot well, too heavy, sold it & kept looking. 2nd, I was ready to buy a 6.8, complete new upper and mags and little interchancablity! 3rd, When I stumbled onto the Sharps 25-45, learned those were not problems complete interchancablity! 4th, Only A BARREL CHANGE!!! WOW ANY OLD 5.56/223 Upper can become a 25-45 or a 300AAC Black Out use your Lower and your Mags! I say Thank You!!! Just waiting for the 7mm-45!!! 1 problem, the cost is a little high on the Upper, but the Lower price is way to high. But hopefully more folks will see the wisdom of a SAVAGE 250/3000 or a .257 Roberts in a AR-15 platform. Anyone think the now 250 Savage is not enough gun for Deer sized game? Can’t wait for the snow to melt here in Erie County!

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